In 1921, Audiwerke AG took the motoring world by surprise when it unveiled the new Audi 14/50 hp Type K, Germany's first left-hand-drive car. It was then that Audi branched out to more than just engine and suspension technology; it began to channel more energy into the areas of driving safety and ease of operation.
In 1923, the Type M with its six-cylinder engine followed, with the first eight-cylinder Audi model, the Audi Imperator, appearing in 1927. In August 1928, Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen, owner of Zschopauer Motorenwerke/DKW, acquired a majority interest in Audiwerke AG, and in the following year merged the Zwickau-based company with his own business empire. When the global economy plunged into crisis in October 1929, sales of large car models with six and eight-cylinder engines collapsed. Rasmussen responded by commissioning Audi to develop a small DKW car with front-wheel drive, and in 1931, this model launched with great success. In a measure to protect jobs, the Audi plant also assembled DKW Front models.